As part of its not-for-profit mission, COHME is committed to furthering the field of social work. Since its inception, COHME has paired vulnerable clients with talented social work graduate students, to the benefit of both. Here we feature Rachel Seidman, a second-year graduate intern at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
What led you to go to into social work school?
Ever since I was little, I knew that I wanted to be in a helping profession. While I considered careers in law and mediation, I was attracted to the broadness of the social work profession. I’m passionate about helping people find their inner strength and empowering clients to make the changes they want to see in their lives.
How is working with older adults different than working with other clients?
In my first-year social work internship I worked with teenagers in high school, so working at COHME has definitely been different. I find that older adults are more interested in talking about their lives than teenagers. My clients have so many rich life experiences and show so much gratitude to the people around them. While teenagers may need some help learning about coping mechanisms, I find that my clients have a myriad of ways to deal with problems given the challenges they have faced in their lives.
What kinds of things do you do with your COHME clients?
I work with my clients to strengthen their skills and empower them to tackle challenges that come their way, such as assistance completing an Access-A-Ride application, providing referrals to decluttering services, short term counseling to help navigate complicated family situations or working with individuals to identify satisfying volunteer and recreational activities.
In what ways has your COHME experience impacted your view of older adults?
In general, I have a positive view of older adults, given my life experience and my relationship with my grandparents. While some people may assume that older adults can’t do things for themselves, I certainly don’t see it this way. Working with my clients has shown me how resilient people can be. No matter what life throws at you, keep going and tap into your inner strength. That’s what I’m learning from my clients.
What is your favorite restaurant and meal?
One of my favorite restaurants in New York City is called Pasta Louise. It’s a cute spot located in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They make their own fresh pasta and have the most delicious sauces. I plan to eat there on my birthday this year and recommend that you try it if you haven’t been!